First Durham Graded School / Morehead School

35.994587, -78.905869

Cross Street
Year built
Year demolished
Architectural style
Construction type
Building Type
Can you help?
You don't need to know everything, but do you know the builder?
Log in or register and you can edit this.

Public schools were established in Durham in 1882 using leased space in the Wright Factory building on Main St.

The Durham Graded School, on Jackson St. between Carr and Warren Sts., was Durham's first dedicated public school building, constructed in 1892. The large, red brick, Norman Revival building became an elementary school after the construction of Durham High School on Morgan St. and was renamed the Morehead School.



The building stood at this location until either 1915 or 1916, when it burned. It was replaced with an Art Deco structure, which was also called the Morehead School, completed in 1920.


(Courtesy Duke Archives)

This school served the West End and Morehead Hill neighborhoods. I've talked with a man in his 70s who grew up on Jackson St. a few blocks away and vividly remembers walking to school along Jackson St., past the large wrought-iron fence at the back of the property of the Duke Mansion.

(Courtesy John Temple)

When the current Morehead School was constructed in 1957, the school building on Jackson St. was abandoned. It was assessed as part of the urban renewal project, and that information notes that the building was used as a storage facility in the early 1960s.

Looking southeast from Warren St. and Jackson St., 1966. (Note old street marker, now rare in Durham, and the Lucky Strike water tower in the background.)

Interestingly, that paperwork also notes a plan to renovate the building for offices. However, that choice was evidently shelved, as the building was demolished with the surrounding area in 1967.

Looking southeast from NC Mutual, 1967. Almost all of the surrounding houses are gone, and the demolition of the school has begun.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

Demolition of the school, looking southeast from near Warren and Jackson, 09.08.67.
(Courtesy Herald-Sun)

It is now part of University Ford.

moreheadaerial copy.jpeg

Here is a view of the site today, taken from the American Tobacco parking deck, looking southwest.



Sad simply sad.

Where did the Junior high students go from 1916-1920 while the Morehead graded school was being reconstructed? (As you state it burned in 1916)

Add new comment

Log in or register to post comments.